Sometimes the way to milk and honey is through the body.
Sometimes the way in is a song.
But there are three ways in the world:
dangerous, wounding, and beauty.
To enter stone, be water.
To rise through hard earth, be plant
desiring sunlight, believing in water.
To enter fire, be dry.
To enter life, be food.
~ Linda Hogan ~ (Rounding the Human Corners)
Olive Harvest Hospitality
(Kathleen writes) I knew that Palestinian hospitality was legendary, but had never experienced it for myself until this evening. We were guests at the Olive Harvest Festival a celebration at the Canaan Olive Oil Processing Plant near Jenin, Palestine, which is the major producer of the Palestinian Fair Trade Olive Oil. We toured the plant, and realized that every single bottle can be traced to a particular farmer-- and that farmer has a name, a family and a story. Every bottle of oil you buy is documented; how the olives are grown; how they are stored, and when they are harvested. The facilities were spotless and so very impressive, as were the variety of olive oil "tastings" that were available to all the guests. After the tour, dinner was served. We sat outside on tables that tilted on the rocky ground, surrounded by Olive Trees, that looked like the imaginary Tree of Life. We feasted on Middle Eastern pizza and roasted chicken, drank a pulpy mashed up mint drink followed by a sweet dessert. After dinner, the celebration began-and what a celebration! All the men started dancing in a circle with unabandoned joy. The men in our group joined, or were pulled into, the circle, while we women watched and clapped, egging them on. Never have I seen so many men have such a good time without having to down a couple of beers to dance!!! The dancing and music, the mixture of young and older men, the women tapping their fingers on the table, a dozen young boys surrounding me asking in perfect English-- "who are you? What's your name? and.. "how old are you?" everyone having such a good time was a memory I shall not forget for a very long time.
They were celebrating not only the end of the harvest, but the success of the Canaan Olive Production Plant, which has become quote successful in it's six years, in no small part due to the Fair Trade Connections made in the United States and other countries who are committed to buying products from Palestine. One small church in Virginia has been selling olive oil for six years and was proud to tell me it had made over $10,000 dollars. Tonight, I saw the direct beneficiaries of this harvest: the way the community participates in the harvest; the hope that this successful venture has given an otherwise economically impoverished area; and the scholarships that were proudly given to the youth who had written their essays in both Arabic and English.
The poet Linda Hogan writes: Sometimes the way to milk and honey is through the body. Sometimes the way in is a song. Tonight we entered the land of milk and honey through both our bodies and then, in joyous song. Now, we go to sleep in the homes of our Palestinian guests, now entering life through sleep!!!